What is the best recipe for mashed potatoes?
In my family, mashed potatoes were one of the first things I learned to make. It was also one of the first things I taught my daughters to cook.
Mashed potatoes seem to appeal to almost everyone. But here’s the tricky thing.
Ask ten people how they like to prepare their mashed spuds, and you’ll likely get ten different answers. That’s because, as with all food, defining the “best” mashed potato is a very subjective thing.
Mashed potatoes are one of those side dishes that you probably had more times than you can count when you were growing up, both at home and at the school cafeteria.
And the way your mom made them – whether they were red potatoes smashed with their skins on or some mysterious reconstituted potato flakes – is quite probably the way that you like them today.
Or maybe you didn’t like your mom’s version of mashed potatoes and grew up thinking of them as bland, gummy, watery or just plain gloppy. And then, when you had mashed potatoes at your girlfriend’s or boyfriend’s house or at a restaurant, you suddenly realized that mashed potatoes were fantastic. Sorry mom.
But what happens when a reconstituted potato loving person marries a red potatoes mashed with skins person and they look at each other for the first time and one says, “Hey, how about mashed potatoes for dinner tonight?”
“Oh! My favorite!” says the other. What happens next could get ugly.
My wife and I have fortunately have the exact same taste when it comes to mashed potatoes. She makes them completely different from my mom who used a mixer to whip tons of air into hers.
My wife prepares them with an old fashion tomato masher that she either found at a garage sale or grabbed from her mom’s kitchen on the way to college.
Over the years I have watched many friends make their mashed potatoes and it’s amazing how many different ways there are to smash these tubers. Below we will look at how choosing the best potato, how to cook them, how to mash them and then how to season and add additional flavor.
But first, here is my basic recipe for mashed potatoes.
Best Mashed Potatoes Recipe
- 2 pounds potatoes either starchy - waxy or a mix of both
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup half and half
- freshly ground black or white pepper - to taste
- Cook the potatoes until fork tender.
- Mash with salt, butter and half and half.
- Season with freshly ground pepper
- Now that we have a working list of ingredients and a method, there are plenty of other decisions to make.
Mashed Potatoes Options
When deciding what type of mashed potatoes you’re going to make at home, there are many factors and decisions that determine your outcome.
- What type of potato?
- Peel on or off?
- Mashing tools?
- What ingredients can be added?
All these are talked about at Best Mashed Potato Options